“Travel has always been in my blood”. Candid Magazine sits down with Jeremy Jauncey of Beautiful Destinations, the rugby star turned travel guru who is curating the largest social travel community in the world. One stalking session of his personal Instagram will have you handing in your notice at work and heading to an airport faster than you can say ‘Jeremy Jauncey'.
In our exclusive interview, Jeremy shares his top three must-visit destinations; dishes out tips on taking the perfect (cliché-free) travel photos, the importance of geotagging, and we even slip into a few sentences on politics: the significance of the climate-focused Paris Agreement.
Hi Jeremy, thanks for talking with us. You’ve had an international upbringing; can you tell us about it?
I grew up on a farm in Perthshire, Scotland. My mother is Colombian and my father is Scottish, so travel has always been in my blood. After finishing secondary school, I moved to New Zealand to pursue a rugby career.
So experiencing different countries and cultures when you were growing up helped spark your love of travel?
Absolutely, I'll always be grateful to my parents for pushing me to travel when I was young and being able to travel to New Zealand with rugby showed me how big the world was and how much I hadn't seen.
What is Beautiful Destinations – if you’re not one of the nearly ten million people already familiar?
Beautiful Destinations initially started as a passion project, publishing amazing pictures from photographers across the globe. As travellers’ attention continued to shift from traditional media, I realised that our ability to create and curate the best social content held huge marketing value in the travel industry. Fast forward five years later and today we have evolved into an award-winning creative agency that creates ‘digital first’ content for travel brands and tourism boards, telling the stories of a place, its people and experiences. After gaining more than fifteen million loyal followers in a hundred and eighty countries around the world, we’ve grown to become the largest travel community on social media.
How did Beautiful Destinations come about? You started it in 2012, right? What were you doing beforehand?
Before Beautiful Destinations, I moved from Scotland to New Zealand for a career in rugby, which is what first ignited my passion for travel. Following an injury, I worked as an entrepreneur in the healthcare and technology industries whilst documenting my travels on Instagram. I always felt that there wasn’t really a go-to resource I could look at for travel inspiration. I’ve found social media to be a very creative platform and I’m passionate about seeking amazing stories of places, people and experiences, so I combined the two and Beautiful Destinations was born.
What are your top three places to visit and why?
- Philippines – the people and it feels like an undiscovered part of Asia with beautiful beaches and Latin-influenced culture.
- New York City – the most vibrant place in the world, literally every block you turn down something exciting is happening.
- New Zealand – the most beautiful place I've ever been and the only country where you can see all seasons in a day.
Do you do all of your own Instagram photography? What do you shoot with?
The Beautiful Destinations team is made up of in-house creators who are out on the road shooting with either an iPhone or SLR camera and a strong global network of two hundred and fifty ambassadors, who we can call upon at any time.
Any tips for getting perfect Instagram photos?
- Take your photo in the ‘golden hour’ – that is the hour before and after sunrise and sun set. Light, plays a huge role in successful content and that time of day creates amazing light, which makes people and places look good. However, remember, if you are taking photos at sunrise you will have slightly less time.
- Find foregrounds and backgrounds that have strong contrasts. For example, Santorini in Greece makes a great photo because you have the iconic white limestone Greek houses perching on the cliffs strongly contrasting with the electric blue water of the sea below.
- Use perspective to get an interesting shot. So many people go to a well-known landmark or holiday destination and take exactly the same picture. Take your photo from a different perspective, or in a way that hasn’t been shot before.
In the current climate of growing xenophobia around the world, how important is travel and experiencing cultures outside of your own?
We’re big advocates of supporting togetherness and travel is a great way to learn about and open people’s eyes to other cultures. Last month we released a video with DJ Zedd during his Welcome Concert in LA, which was held to encourage America to ignore the current travel ban. We’re passionate about equality and by educating people with our travel content, they can gain a deeper understanding of other cultures. This extends to climate change too; in June, we created a video about why the Paris Agreement is important and needs support from people worldwide.
What advice can you give to a traveller in order to learn the most and experience the most from journeys abroad?
One of my top pieces of advice that the whole Beautiful Destinations team follow is to contact locals via Instagram by seeing who geotags in that particular location. They can give their recommendations on the best places to go and things to try. Geotagging is also fantastic for seeing real-time content and enables visitors to have the most authentic experience.
Follow Jeremy Jauncey on Instagram here, Beautiful Destinations here and Candid Magazine here.
Read more travel news in Candid Magazine’s Lifestyle section.